Toes in the water, hands in the air

Being a regular concert attendee at Walnut Creek, I know what to expect when going to a country concert. However, Friday, May 11, was different; Zac Brown was in town. These differences began before the concert did.

Usually, cars are directed into a lot directly next to the amphitheater, but we had to park across the street at the softball complex, naking our rushed walk to the gates take about ten minutes longer than it usually would. As we approached the gates of the amphitheater, there was a tour bus parked in the green area in front of the security checkpoints. People were taking pictures in front of the bus, but we decided not to stop.

After making it through security, we entered into an abyss of people. The line for the women’s bathroom extended across the entire common area, something I’d never seen before. In attempt to avoid the massive crowds, we ascended up the stairs to the lawn and faced the most incredible feat of all. We faced a sea of people. The masses only got thicker as you walked toward the front of the lawn. I quickly realized the immensity of this concert.

By the time the concert was scheduled to start, most people were standing shoulder-to-shoulder with complete strangers. During a frustrating, long period of about 30 minutes, instrumental reggae music played, and the air filled with complaints concerning when Zac Brown Band would begin.

Upon their much awaited arrival, they started with one of their biggest hits, “Keep Me In Mind,” which was worth the awful wait. They continued with an upbeat riff called “Whiskey’s Gone,” followed by their summery hit, “Kneep Deep.” At this point, each individual in the crowd was dancing and moving to the quick beats. The tempo gradually decreased as they played, “As She’s Walking Away,” and “Highway 20 Ride.”

The band then played three covers; “Rivers of Babylon” by the Medalions, “Oh My Sweet Carolina” by Ryan Adams and “Sweet Emotion” by Aerosmith. A few uncommon songs that not many people knew followed, which slowed the pace even more. Soon they played “Toes,” which was quite the crowd pleaser. However, the best moment of the night was their cover of “The Devil Went Down to Georgia,” which gave me a new appreciation for the violin. Violinist, Jimmy DiMartino had me amazed by his skills and the effect that single instrument had on the entire show.

This remarkable moment was followed by a dull drum solo which led into the encore. The set rotated between red, white and blue lights, and the sweet sound of “America the Beautiful” radiated throughout the amphitheater. Predictably, it morphed into the band’s first and biggest hit, “Chicken Fried” which had the entire place singing along.

The concert concluded with “Colder Weather,” a slow and emotional song about tough love. I think everyone would have been content if they ended on a high note with “Chicken Fried,” but I didn’t hear any complaints.

Overall, the concert was incredible. The vocals sounded the exact same way as they do on the radio, flawless. It was a fun and enjoyable time that included dancing, socializing and of course, great music.



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